Microsoft – Only showing games to be released this year was an interesting gimmick, but ultimately I felt that it was a mistake. It did a great job of showing off the 2007 release list for the 360 which is, in my opinion, by far the best of the three consoles, only to leave 2008 and beyond as something of a vacuum that left the door open for the other two to take the plaudits. The likes of MGS4 aren’t coming out this year but they still carry a lot of weight as franchises.
And why did Microsoft choose to show only their 2007 titles and then show Resi 5 anyway? Why not just show other future titles and plug the strength of the 2007 lineup? They could easily have had their cake and eaten it.
The show itself fairly poor until it was saved by some excellent gameplay footage of big games like Call of Duty 4 (plus online beta!) and Assassin’s Creed. I’m still as hot for Halo 3 as I ever was after that trailer, as well, although it was admittedly not a brilliant trailer. It’s just that they played it safe, had their aforementioned high points, a couple of low points (the Madden thing was…ugh), and came out just affirming what we already knew: that the Xbox 360 has a strong 2007 lineup. They need a huge X07 or TGS now.
Nintendo – I don’t doubt that every mainstream outlet on the planet is writing glowing features on Wii Fit as we speak and it’s going to make ridiculous amounts of money, but that show was a lesson in how to alienate your hardcore fans. I’m admittedly a lapsed Nintendo fan and a Mario game doesn’t do it for me like it used to (I’ll still buy Mario Galaxy and Metroid Prime 3 for sure, though), but nothing there did it for me. What was there except Wii Fitness and half a dozen new Wii peripherals? Vision Training? Not even any big DS announcements!
Mario Kart? It looks the same as Double Dash and they already did it online on the DS. No Animal Crossing. Little new on Smash Bros except a release date met with dead silence. The focus on Wii Fit meant that it ended up coming off like an infomercial for a step machine like you get on Five US when CSI isn’t on, and just affirmed for me that Nintendo and the Wii is no longer going with what I, as a gamer, want.
Sony – Mainly given the advantage of following Nintendo’s show and having only to be better than last year, Sony only really had to show some games that weren’t coming out this year in order to ‘win’, and they did. It started badly with some cringe-worthy Home skits and a painful appearance by Chewbacca, as well as so many plugs that it felt like I was watching Casino Royale again (“Spider-Man 2, now available on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and UMD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment”; “connect your PSP to your Sony Bravia flatscreen TV”; “Home on my Sony-Ericsson mobile phone”), but then it was uphill.
The new PSP is a good improvement even if it didn’t have internal memory (I’ll buy one when it gets hacked), Echochrome looks cool, and MGS4, Uncharted, and Killzone all look superb. For the first time since E3 2005 I’m seriously considering when I plan to buy a PS3 and which game is going to do it.
Overall, though, I think we can all agree that the new E3 is a disappointment for those of us who like to sit back and enjoy the show. Bring back the old one, I say!